Friday, March 16, 2018

Athanasius on the Incarnation as the restoration of a stained portrait

In On the Incarnation, Athanasius suggests the analogy of restored portrait painting to describe how the new Adam, Jesus, restored the stained image of the first Adam:

You know what happens when a portrait that has been painted on a panel becomes obliterated  through external stains. The artist does not throw away the panel, but the subject of the portrait has to come and sit for it again, and then the like-ness is re-drawn on the same material. Even so was it with the All-holy Son of God. He, the image of the Father, came and dwelt in our midst, in order that He might renew mankind made after Himself…. (42).

He later notes the necessity of the ministry of the perfect model, since:

You cannot put straight in others what is warped in yourself (42).


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